Earlier this week Royals left-hander Bruce Chen described himself as being in “constant pain” because of a swollen disk in his back, but planned to pitch through the pain. He won’t get a chance to do that, however, as the Royals have placed him on the disabled list.
Chen posted a 7.45 ERA in four starts this season and isn’t exactly an ace even when he’s healthy, so there was little reason for the Royals to keep trotting him out there every fifth day at obviously less than 100 percent.
Danny Duffy will step into Chen’s rotation spot and it’s entirely possible that by the time the 37-year-old southpaw is ready to return from the DL the Royals will want to stick with the 25-year-old southpaw anyway. Of course, they re-signed Chen to a two-year contract just months ago, so maybe not.
Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.
Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.
“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”
Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.
Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.
“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.
Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.